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Music Reviews: Anneke van Giersbergen, ReVamp, The Sixxis, and Within Temptation

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A variety is in store for this week, all of it worthy of your attention.

Anneke van Giersbergen has a new album called Drive and it is quite the release. This lady certainly has the pipes to deliver whatever she wishes musically. A bit like recent releases from singers like Issa and Robin Beck, this is strong-woman rock. There is not even a tinge of ’90s fem whinge rock. This is hard rock that owes its debt to Pat Benatar and Heart. It is not that surprising she delivers the goods as she was formerly singer and guitarist for The Gathering. Songs like “Drive” and “You Will Never Change” are more poppy than most of her former band’s output but when it is this catchy, who cares. You might also recognize the name as she has guested on songs with bands like Within Temptation.

ReVamp_-_WildcardReVamp. Floor Jansen and company are back with a crack album, Wild Card. Surprising though it might sound, this is a better album than the band’s self-titled 2010 debut, “Sweet Curse” notwithstanding. This is a consistent release of quality symphonic metal. It is certainly far better than say the last album from Jansen’s moonlighting gig, Nightwish. The band seems more together and it is reflected in an album that does not have a dud on it anywhere. The title track has a lot going for it and shows off all this band can do. “Nothing” is another catchy highlight that really shows off Jansen’s voice. A marker has been laid down in this genre and other similar bands have quite a bit to top.

The Sixxis have released an album called The Sixxis and what an album they have released on the unwitting world. This is progressive-tinged hard rock that has a dark sense of humor but never takes itself too seriously. There are shades of bands like Anathema with touches of Rush and even King’s X in some of the songs. What makes the difference on this album is that so much of it is so damn catchy. Check out tracks like “I Wanted More” and “She Only” for proof of the brilliance of this band. Please help make sure they don’t remain cult forever and check out this release. Save them from the hell of hipsters.

Within Temptation released An Acoustic Night at the Theatre in 2009, but I just got a hold of a copy. It is quite an interesting experience listening to their tracks stripped down to the basics. Shockingly, or not, the songs hold up wonderfully to the basic treatment. Sharon den Adel has no problem in this format. In fact, her voice shines on tracks like “Somewhere,” which features a duet with Giersbergen. What is amusing is that the duet called “Utopia” which features Chris Jones on co-lead vocals, is prime new country fare. One has to wonder why this track wasn’t tarted up with a few fiddles and released to country music stations in the U.S. In short, this is yet another WT live tour de force.

Stay safe and rocking out there.

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